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“Fog is San Francisco’s greatest asset.”

September 27, 2012
tags: ,

@colettemarie found this 1912 book in the USF Gleeson Library:


“Fog is San Francisco’s greatest asset.” So says Alexander McAdie, and we wholeheartedly agree.

I have long held fog is an excellent personality test:

Or as Karl puts it:

And I still think the San Francisco Bulls should have been called the Fogeaters.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Dogpatch Howler notes that the book is available on the Internet Archive.


@rabjot found a color scan, which makes it much easier to see the photographs.

Sir Francis Drake and the crew of the Golden Hinde hated our fog. They spent a month at Point Reyes in 1579, and “the mildest terms used in describing the fog were…

“Most vile, thick & unpenetrable.”

This “vile” fog kept them from discovering San Francisco Bay — Drake may have sailed within 20 miles of it, 190 years before the Spanish finally (and accidentally) “discovered” it in 1769.

What if the fog *had* let Drake discover our Bay in 1579? Keep in mind Boston wasn’t founded until 1630, Jamestown in 1607, and Roanoke Island (i.e. “CROATOAN”) was 1585. I totally would have sailed around the horn to not have to be in Boston for the winter or Virginia in summer.

But if the British *had* settled here, California certainly wouldn’t be called California, San Francisco would probably be called something like “New Worcestershire” and more importantly, we probably wouldn’t have burritos, instead relegated to soggy pot pies filled with boiled beef and cabbage.

“If some prophetic dreamer in the crew told had told these rough men that in eight generations men of flesh and blood like themselves, speaking the same mother tongue, were to sail these waters in iron ships, by harnessing the expansive power of water vapor…”


The nice thing about the color scan of the book are the pictures — today, Alexander McAdie would totally have a blog and would be instagramming the hell out of fog photos.





Alexander was a total data nerd too. He made some pretty impressive rainfall and fog charts.


For the benefit of @40goingon28, here’s the percentage of time the sun was visible, over a period of 18 years, from 1893-1911.


And so concludes today’s reading of The Book of Fogs.

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